Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014

Rosberg leads first in-season test for Mercedes

2014 F1 season

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There was no let-up in the Mercedes supremacy even during testing as Nico Rosberg headed the times sheets in Bahrain.

All 11 Formula One teams were on hand for the first of eight days of in-season testing. Each of the four pairs of test days are being held immediately after race weekends.

Rosberg ended the day four tenths of a second quicker than Nico Hulkenberg with Fernando Alonso third. The Ferrari driver, who is driving on both days was almost a second off Rosberg’s time. He spent the morning doing fixed speed runs for aerodynamic evaluations and testing different electronic set-ups.

The F14 T came to a stop during the morning, bringing out the red flags. In the afternoon, as the track temperature hit a scorching 45C, the team switched their focus to set-up comparisons over a series of short runs.

Kevin Magnussen was fourth for McLaren, who made an 11th-hour change to their driver line-up, choosing to put Magnussen in the car for both days instead of running Oliver Turvey and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Russian 18-year-old Sergey Sirotkin had his first run in an F1 practice session for Sauber and covered 411km, comfortably more than the 300 he needed to qualify for an FIA superlicence.

It was an unproductive day for Pastor Maldonado, whose Lotus only completed 16 laps due to problems with its Renault power unit.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Nico RosbergMercedes W051’35.697121
2Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes VJM071’36.064690.367
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari F14 T1’36.626690.929
4Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-291’36.6341020.937
5Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes FW361’37.305281.608
6Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari MR031’37.678601.981
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault RB101’38.326912.629
8Sergey SirotkinSauber-Ferrari C331’39.023763.326
9Robin FrijnsCaterham-Renault CT051’40.027634.330
10Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault E221’40.183164.486
11Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault STR91’40.452674.755

2014 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Rosberg leads first in-season test for Mercedes”

  1. Typo in the second paragraph, Rosberg was three tenths quicker than Hulk.

    Anyway, any reason why Williams and Bottas did little running today?

    1. Nothing new to test and little to learn of course why spend more money?

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        8th April 2014, 23:42

        you must be a new F1-fan.
        the teams have millions of things to test! all the time! thats why they want inseason testing like the old days! there cannot be enough testing: if they could, theyd probably test 24-7. if williams didnt make more laps its bacause they probably had some problems…

  2. Another massive number of laps done by Rosberg, just hope Hamilton gets the same amount of mileage tomorrow.

    1. Hamilton is doing testing for Pirelli, I believe, so it won’t be the same.

      1. Hamilton has already done 50 this morning

  3. “It was an unproductive day for Pastor Maldonado, whose Lotus only completed 16 laps due to problems with its Renault power unit.”
    But he promised he will make up lost ground, and T-bone two cars next outing…..

    1. Maybe Redbull are paying Maldonado to be the new Piquet Jnr in the hope that they’ll fluke a win??

      1. Red Bull are straightforward to do such things . Bernie on the other hand ………

    2. @cole Let’s be fair to Crashnado’s skills, and say that one of those cars will end up on its side.

  4. So Lotus did again only 16 laps. On the whole pre-season test they couldn’t get the car to do at least an out-lap. In the practice sessions of the 3 Grand Prix so far they’re not doing a lot of mileage and still sometimes they can’t get even the car started. So out of all this problems, can anyone explain to me why on race days they’re able to bring both cars home and run for a whole race distance?

    1. I’m not so sure but my best guess would be a combination of both drivers are not pushing the car to the maximum and the team running the car as conservatively as they can.

      Either that or they’re just really lucky.

      1. I was thinking the same thing, but why would you go wild and extreme the first laps of a testing session? Ok it’s testing so you have to test how strong you can get, but still. I’m thinking they’ve been lucky as well

    2. Maybe the problems they have cannot be fixed by running the car. Furthermore, given their budget, if they can spare some components they will do it I guess.

      1. That’s a great reason to let maldonado go testing.

        1. I dunno. I think Maldonado could be a decent driver when he’s away from the red mist of competition. Maybe he should take up rallying or some sort of trials racing.

          Either that, or Lotus figure that with only 10 other cars on track he’ll be less likely to hit someone!

  5. I believe they are, but just to confirm, does anyone know if the teams are allowed to use engines outside of their 5 per season allowance in these tests?

  6. Seeing very few TEST drivers on sheets suggests that the teams feel there is a lot to be learnt by both engineers and drivers.

    1. You know what also suggests that?

      The teams openly saying multiple times there’s a lot to learn from the new cars by the engineers and drivers…

      1. Guess I missed that headline Al, or is it Bert.

  7. It’s a shame Stoffel Vandoorne couldn’t try the McLaren. I would have loved to see him in the car :)

  8. Hope Mercedes don’t become the next redbull, we had enough years of Domination ….

    1. Unlike Max Mosely.

    2. The next Mercedes (54-55), Lotus(Clark’s years,…..), Ferrari(2000-2004, 52-53,…..), Alfa Romeo(1950), Williams(1992-1993,…..), McLaren (1988, 1984,…..)

      Domination isn’t new in Formula One Motor Racing

    3. I am still happy with Merc domination than redbull. Merc having 2 drivers to fight for championship unlike redbull, vettle wining all with no fight.

      1. I agree, but who’s to say if Redbull was the dominant team again it would be the same one-man-show as before? Ricciardo seems to be giving Vettel a run for his money so far (albeit Vettel has had some car issues).

  9. Alex McFarlane
    8th April 2014, 18:24

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but with engines homologated and tyres seemingly not so much of an issue this year, what are teams testing besides reliability, aerodynamic developments and setup?

    1. Apparently the tyres are still an issue for a lot of teams, but your “besides..” seem to cover enough on their own without adding driving style options etc.

    2. Pretty much exactly as you said! Which, considering the rule changes are so expansive, is a lot to be testing.

      You also have all the electronic systems, such as ERS management and brake-by-wire to be refined throughouly.

      1. @vettel1, good point Max, surely it is the electronics that differentiate the reliability and useable power that differentiate teams using the same engine supplier, and quite possibly even the teams with different ICEs, given the comprehensive design rules and fuel flow restrictions attached to the ICEs it is hard to believe the M_AMG ICE alone is so vastly superior to the Ferarri and Renault ICEs as it appears to be.

        1. Alex McFarlane
          8th April 2014, 19:33

          Apparently the Merc engines are novel in the sense that the compressor that is traditionally packaged with the turbo unit has been mounted to the front of the engine and connected to the turbine in the turbo via a connecting shaft through the centre of the engine. I’m in over my head regarding the technical stuff, but the practical benefits of this seemingly small innovation is that they have a smaller, more centrally located intercooler, less piping round the engine, the ability to force more air into the engine and therefore more hotter air to channel into the turbo. This helps to eliminate lag and conserve more energy for use as power. All the merc engines have this packaging but obviously the works team knew about this for longer so could develop their car specifically to take advantage of these features.

          1. How long before we see the Turbine at one end of the engine driving the compessor at the other end on a production road car,? not long at all would be my guess.

          2. Check this out mates @hohum and Alex McFarlane
            Ferrari also split their turbo.


        2. @hohum the Mercedes package clearly does have some degree of a power advantage – may that be due to the ERS (which supplies the bhp needed to eke out the km/h) being more efficient at supplying energy due to the turbo positioning described below, or a simple increase in power from being able to maintain boost pressure more effectively. Or indeed both.

          But I agree, that alone is clearly not propelling them away from the Renault and Ferrari shod runners: Red Bull – were it not for their disqualification and pit stop error – would be a fairly comfortable second in the constructor’s championship. Nor does it appear there are any major aerodynamic innovations on the Mercedes, so it must simply be an extremely well-refined concept – every element working harmoniously in the aid of performance and efficiency.

          And therein lies a grain of hope for the other teams. Mercedes may hold a commanding lead over the competition, but they are probably much closer to the capacity of their car. Red Bull for example on the other hand have vast reserves of potential to mine. Of course, a lot of where Mercedes hold an advantage seems to be in the inherent design characteristics of their car (which will be difficult to mimic during a season), but there is hope yet for the other teams, should they improve their software packages et al to be able to utilise all of the power these new engines provide, or (perhaps more importantly) manage the torque.

          1. @vettel1, right Max, and if RBR have vast reserves of potential, what must Lotus have.

          2. Alex McFarlane
            9th April 2014, 11:09

            I wouldn’t disagree with anything you’ve said there, except that with the new regulations being quite restrictive in terms of engine development and where teams can make up aerodynamic performance, it’s difficult to know where the most development potential lies with the cars (obviously the software and electronics is a big area). It may well be that the Merc still has masses of untapped potential. I guess it depends on how many ideas they’ve got that they haven’t yet been able to put into practice.

      2. Alex McFarlane
        8th April 2014, 19:23

        Ah yes, silly me! I’d forgotten about the electronics and how much more complex those systems are this year, it’s almost like a battle of the software programmers thia year.

        1. No Alex that is a valid point, one of the problems with Turbochargers is heat transfer from the exhaust driven turbo to the compressor and thence to the charge air, I fully expected the motor/generator to be seperated from turbocharger for the same reason, moving the compressor at the same time seems a no-brainer in retrospect, are we sure this is unique to M-AMG?

          1. Alex McFarlane
            8th April 2014, 20:39

            Sorry, my reply ended up below. I’m not sure that it’s unique to Merc but given the performance difference between the three powertrains so far it would seem they’ve got something different going on. I remember the preseason rumours claiming the Merc powertrain had 100hp more than their competitors and this would appear to be the reason. It’s an elegant solution and perhaps a no-brainer in retrospect but simple solutions often require a lot of thought ;-)

  10. Looks like force india might be competing against the likes of ferrari ,redbull,mclaren. good to see a small team, to be there up at the tops with very less resources compared to one near them . i hope they continue to deliver even on other tracks

    1. They should be good at Monza!

    2. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      8th April 2014, 23:49

      dont think their placement in the standings is gonna last long. it will only be a cool anecdote…

  11. It looks like, the Force India has strong developing section.

  12. Alex McFarlane
    8th April 2014, 20:23

    I’m not sure that it’s unique to Mercedes, but from the feature on Sky Sports F1 during Friday practice they made it out to be one of Mecedes ‘secret’ weapons. I wonder if McLaren will be giving Honda feedback on the Merc engine, could give them an advantage in knowing what they need to be competitive.

    1. Alex McFarlane
      8th April 2014, 20:25

      Sorry, this in reply to hohum above

  13. Tell you what happened with Crashtor Maldonado and Lotus as why he called a day… He noticed no car was getting close to him, therefore ending his chances at crashing the competition. He was getting bored and quit after only doing 16 laps.

  14. Did i see Max Chilton ahead of Daniel Ricciardo?? OMG!!!

    1. Chilton was on the Max ;-)

  15. Noticed that Max Chilton’s time was quicker than his quali time on Sat. Have they had upgrades or did he underperform on Sat?

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